Reviews

Ranking Every ‘Batman The Animated Series’ Episode Part 3/5

“Sometimes, old friend, I wonder if I’m really doing any good out there”

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Lets keep this party going! We’re almost in the top 50 here folks! Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this so far, and are coming back to each part! Here are numbers 62-43!

62 – The Last Laugh. Season 1, Episode 4. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Carl Swenson

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It’s April Fools Day in Gotham, and you know what that means. Joker is going to try and kill a bunch of people, by making them laugh to death! Talk about a punch line! It’s got one of the greatest April Fools jokes ever, remember when Alfred “drew Batman a bath” and shows him a picture of a bathtub, classic Alfie! But when poor old Alfie gets infected by this laughing gas, Batman has a little more incentive to stop Joker. It’s weird, but I really dig the background music in this episode, it’s pretty catchy, and overall it’s a great Joker story. It’s got a giant clown robot that Batman fights, and just a boatload of puns, and who doesn’t enjoy a good pun. It’s even got Batman smiling and cracking jokes, and that is a super rare thing to come across. Seriously though, look at Batman in that picture, isn’t it adorable!!! Grade C+

“Oh, that’s a joke, right? Batman finally told a joke!” – The Joker 

61 – Lock Up. Season 3, Episode 26. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Paul Dini

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Lyle Bolton is his name, get it BOLT-ON, and his alter ego is Lock Up. Wow, I don’t know if that’s extremely clever or corny. This guy is a grade A psycho, I’ll tell you that much. See Lyle was a prison guard, one of the best, but he wanted more, he wanted the prisoners to fear him, and he felt like they were all the scum of the Earth. When the inmates complained, they get Lyle fired, and boy does he not take that lying down. Some time passes and he is now, Lock Up, and is kidnapping some of Gotham’s finest (Summer Gleeson, Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill) and wants to punish them for creating a poor justice system. He’s even got some cool lock gadgets that are pretty handy. I kind of wish this guy was in more episodes, he’s huge and pretty damn smart, but when he gets stopped by Batman in the end, since he’s so psychotic, he can now watch all the criminals inside Arkham. Maybe this guy is just a pure genius who knows! Grade C+

“Just what this town needs, another psycho in a Halloween costume.” – Harvey Bullock 

60 – Fire From Olympus. Season 3, Episode 7. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens

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Maxie Zeus, just another wack job in Gotham. See he believes he is the reincarnation of Zeus himself, and thinks he can wield thunder bolts. When he wants to steal an experimental weapon from Gotham and use it to destroy the city. I’ll admit, if I did these rankings years ago, this might be a bottom 10 episode, but there’s something about it. It grows on me with each new watch, and I don’t know if its because I’ve come to know the character more, or because I’m realizing it’s actually just a great episode. The ending of this one, when Zeus is being taken through Arkham and he’s comparing all the rogues to well know Greek Mythology characters is actually so brilliant, and it’s just a really cool scene. Grade C+

“To the depths of Tartarus with you!” – Maxie Zeus 

59 – Deep Freeze. Season 3, Episode 28. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Paul Dini

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Awe, imagine if Walt Disney, had gone batshit crazy and wanted to be immortal. Well I guess, he did freeze himself, and I don’t know if this episode has anything to do with that, but it reminds me of that, so back off! Grant Walker a billionaire with way to much free time on his hands, breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, so he can help him become just like him. Not only that, Walker wants to turn the world into a skating rink, and start the next ice age, man Gotham really has some sick people in it. Maybe I’m to hard on this episode, but anything that’s not Heart of Ice, has a lot to live up too. This episode just doesn’t really do it for me, and to be perfectly honest, I was always so pissed they waited like 60 episodes to bring Mr.Freeze back. So in the end Freeze helps Batman and Robin, so he can help get his wife back. I just wish we would have gotten a few more Mr. Freeze episodes, but there’s just something about this episode that doesn’t feel right to me. Grade C+

“She’ll wake up in a dead frozen world, that you helped destroy. She’ll hate you for that!” Batman 

58 – You Scratch My Back. Season 4, Episode 5. Director: Butch Lukic, Story: Hilary J. Bader

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Boy, is there an awful lot of sexual tension in this episode. Hilary wasn’t holding back on this one. Nightwing wants to get out of Batman’s shadow, so he decides to take down a smuggling ring all by himself. Or so he thought, because Catwoman joins in on the fun, and wants to help the boy wonder. She also seems to want to make Batman jealous by having a somewhat of a sensual relationship with Dick (see what I did there). Meanwhile Batgirl and Nightwing got their own thing going on, and it’s just a cluster of emotions going on. Being the double crosser Catwoman is, she is just using Nightwing, to get to some rare antique. He ends up double crossing her, by secretly working with Batman the whole time, he even pulled one over on me the first time I watched it. Pretty mature episode for being a kids cartoon, so I’ll give it props for that. It’s also just an enjoyable episode! Grade C+

“The only cucumbers in there are .38 caliber” Nightwing 

57 – The Cat & The Claw. Season 1, Episode 15/16 Director: Kevin Altieri, Dick Sebast, Story: Sean Catherine Derek

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We made it, to the first two-part episode! It happens to be Catwoman’s origin, and it happens to feature Red Claw (BOOOOO). If I’m not mistaken these were the first two episodes ever aired, but I go by the box sets, but that’s a fun little fact! So Batman is dealing with this new cat burglar in town. And it just so happens Bruce Wayne has been swept off his feet by the new gal in town, Selina Kyle. Coincidence, I think not! So Selina is pretty pissed because this mountain lion exhibit is being destroyed, by The Red Claw, so both Catwoman and Selina are doing everything they can to stop it from happening. Bruce Wayne is falling for Selina, and Catwoman is falling for Batman, it really is quite the conundrum. When things start to go wrong for Selina, Bruce is there to help, and Batman is also trying to protect Catwoman. When Red Claw steals a deadly plaque on a military train, it’s up to Batman and Catwoman to stop her. Once Batman finds out who Catwoman really is, he has a hard time controlling his emotions and knowing what the right thing to do is. The Catwoman origin stuff, and her arc with Batman in these two episodes are so fantastic, but they get penalized because of the Red Claw. She’s such a horrible villain, and she just was such a buzz kill for these two episodes. The dynamic between Batman and Catwoman is compelling to say the least, and they arguably have the most intriguing relationship in the show, it’s just to bad they couldn’t of had a better baddie to go up against in their first episodes together. Grade B-

“I’m an equal opportunity crime fighter!” Batman 

56 – Christmas With The Joker. Season 1, Episode 2. Director: Kent Butterworth, Story: Eddie Gorodetsky

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One of my all time favourite traditions. Watch this episode on Christmas Eve! This episode gives us a lot of good moments, I feel like I’m screwing up majorly by putting it this low on my list. We get the Joker rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’, which is an all time classic. Him riding through the roof of Arkham on top of that christmas tree is something special. But overall it’s just not the best of episodes. So it’s Christmas Eve, and Batman is not satisfied with his nightly patrol with Robin. When Robin finally convinces him to head home and put on “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Joker interrupts the broadcast, to declare madness on Gotham! He has capture some people, and it’s up to the dynamic duo to stop him. I feel like if it were December this would be higher on my list, I don’t know what it is, I think I’ll regret putting this episode here. Grade C+

“They don’t call ya Batman for nothing!” Robin 

55 – Zatanna. Season 2, Episode 26. Director: Dick Sebast, Story: Paul Dini

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Talk about a little sex pot. Zatanna and Batman have all sorts of tension and chemistry between them. When Bruce Wayne visits with Zatanna’s father to learn the ways of illusion and to become a great escape artist, he meets his daughter Zatanna. When he learns all that he can, he leaves and never sees Zatanna again. Until she comes to Gotham, as she grew up to become a great magician. When the final act goes horribly wrong, and she is framed for stealing a lot of money, Batman will stop at nothing to prove her innocence. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that Batman is “John Smith” the man from her past, when he uses an old nickname. They work together to bring down an evil illusionist Montague Kane. I like Zatanna, she’s a great character and I thought she was well portrayed in this episode. I just wanted a little more from the episode. She’s another character they bring into the show and never come back to, which was a total bummer. Batman also cares deeply for this girl and cared for her father, and I love the bond they share, and how close they still are, despite being away from one another for so long! Grade B- 

“What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons- or have I just answered my own question?” Zatanna 

54 – Appointment In Crime Alley. Season 1, Episode 26. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Gerry Conway

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One of the more emotional episodes of the entire series. Batman’s yearly tradition of visiting the site of his parents tragic murder. Crime Alley, a place that Batman hates, yet holds so close to his heart. Well it’s that time of the year, but Roland Daggett is doing everything he can to stop Batman from making that appointment. Daggett is planning on burning Crime Alley to the ground, with or without its residents still living there. He needs the land to build his empire even greater, and will stop at nothing to do so. Batman is also getting held up with various other crimes going on around Gotham, and his head and his heart are not in the right mind frame. The ending to this episode is just so powerful, they really don’t have cartoons like this any more. Like not even close. Once the day is saved, finally Batman and Leslie Thompkins head to Crime Alley, so he can deliver his roses to his parents. He kneels over and Leslie puts her arms around him and it’s just such a powerful scene, that sometimes even Batman is vulnerable and needs compassion every so often.

“Good people still live in Crime Alley” Batman 

53 – Blind As A Bat. Season 3, Episode 3. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Mike Underwood

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Imagine Batman was like blind. Bats are blind, so why shouldn’t Batman be blind. Well in this episode, that’s exactly what you get. Penguin steals some military badass helicopter from the Gotham airshow, and Bruce Wayne happens to become blind, when he gets caught up in some cross fire. But you know Batman, he never quits, so he uses some sweet technology to give himself sight, but it has a few problems. Watching Batman be completely blind and trying to fight people, is actually hilarious, and I can’t help but laugh every time he falls into those barrels! His glowing red eyes, actually make him look more terrifying and menacing as The Dark Knight. Just kind of a meh episode for me, obviously he gets his vision back….. Grade C

“You’re blind as a bat. Sightless and helpless.” Penguin 

52 – Heart of Steel. Season 2. Episode 10/11. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Brynne Stephens

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Seriously, Bruce Wayne really knows how to pick em. Imagine going on a date with a woman, to only find out she’s a robot, and wants to kill you. Robots! Lots and lots of robots. So these episodes are kind of all over the place. So there are a ton of robberies going on around Gotham, and Batman discovers it to be a mechanical briefcase (I’m not kidding). So he tracks down his old pal Karl Rossum, who is an expert in robotics and has lived a sheltered life, after his daughter was killed in a car crash. There he meets the lovely lady/robot assistant Randa Duane. He doesn’t know she’s a robot, and now that I’m thinking about it, why would Karl even let that go on for a second? He must be a sick guy.  Any who, he also shows Batman his most prized possession, H.A.R.D.A.C a super computer capable of incredible things. Things that even Rossum doesn’t know. Like make robotic duplicates of some of Gotham’s most important people! I almost forgot, we get introduced to Barbara Gordon in these two episodes, and she’s awesome. When her Dad gets taken away and replaced with a duplicate, she knows something is wrong right away, there’s also a moment when she thinks she has killed Bullock, but it turns out to be a duplicate also. Imagine that wasn’t the case though, and she straight up just killed a guy! So when Bruce Wayne goes on a date with a robot lady, she sneaks into the batcave and tampers with the bat-computer. When Batman investigates he gets attacked, and realizes something is severely wrong in Gotham. With the help of Barbara, they head back to Rossum, to confront him, but he doesn’t even realize what’s happening, and together they free all the kidnapped citizens, and destroy H.A.R.D.A.C once and for all. This is a two parter that I find myself disliking with each viewing, I’m not sure why, so that’s why its so low on the list! Grade B- 

“His human imperfection endangers the plan. He must be improved upon.” H.A.R.D.A.C

51 – A Bullet For Bullock. Season 3, Episode 11. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Michael Reaves

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Thee Harvey Bullock episode! Finally, one of my favourite characters from the whole show. A tortured soul, a good cop, but simply misunderstood. He believes we don’t need Batman, and in this episode, Bullock finally comes around to the idea of Batman, and hell even thanks the man. Someone is trying to kill Bullock, and wants him dead bad, and well he doesn’t have the slightest of clue as to who it is. So like any desperate man, he turns to Batman for help. This is a really character driven episode, and us as the audience and even Bullock himself learn a lot about this guy. He realizes that his demeanour and his behaviour has created some of the unlikeliest of enemies. He becomes self aware of how he treats people, and maybe realizes it’s time for a change. They scour Gotham, and pinpoint someone from his past as the culprit. That wasn’t the case, it was Bullock’s landlord who wanted him dead, and even pulls a gun on him at the end of the episode. He had driven this poor guy mad, and you just learn to really love the guy by the end of the episode. I really want to see this guy in The Batman movie. Grade B

“You wanted my apartment? You mean, this whole thing was about rent control?” Bullock 

50 – It’s Never Too Late. Season 1, Episode 12. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Tom Rugger

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There’s a crime war going on in Gotham, between Rupert Thorne and old timer Arnold Stromewell, and it is sweeping through the city. When Thorne wants a “truce” Stromwell shows up thinking that this is really happening, meanwhile it’s a trap! You gotta know better old man, but Batman is on the case and saves Stromwell from an exploding building. He needs Stronwell’s help, and needs him to testify against Thorn. He pulls out all the stops, Batman tracks down his son, who is a drug addict but is getting the attention he needs. See Arnold had a trouble upbringing, when he was a boy, is brother lost his leg, when the pair of them were playing on the train tracks and he’s never forgiven himself for it. Now a priest, with the help from his brother and Batman, Arnold swears off crime and even helps bring down Thorne. This is another emotional episode, with all sorts of emotional baggage and layered story telling. Dealing with some serious subject matter for being a kids cartoon. An episode that honestly only gets better with time. Grade B-

“Stay away, Michael! The last time you tried to help me, you lost your leg!” – Arnold Stromwell

49 – Never Fear. Season 4, Episode 6. Director: Kenji Hachizaki, Story: Stan Berkowitz

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Imagine Batman without fear. His deepest fear is becoming what fights every night in Gotham. He never wants to cross that line, and become one of them. Well we kind of get that in this episode, when Scarecrow makes a new toxin that eliminates fear as we know it. So when Batman gets exposed to the gas, he thinks nothing of it. Until he starts acting radically and is being more dangerous and reckless. Sensing this, Robin decides he must do this on his own. Knowing Batman is a threat to not only Gotham city, but to himself as well. Probably the weakest Scarecrow story, but the idea behind Batman losing control is a really neat idea, and something that should be taken seriously. Doing this again, but making it a little more edgy could be awesome to see, because Batman without limits, is a scary man to think about. There is a great exchange between Robin and Batman in this episode. Where Robin knows, that Batman is now such a threat that he needs to stop Scarecrow alone, it’s just a really powerful scene between the two. Considering Tim Drake is just a kid, and he’s not afraid of Batman, even when he is unhinged. Grade C+ 

“Untie me, you little… UNTIE ME!” – Batman

48 – House And Garden. Season 3, Episode 14. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Paul Dini – 

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This episode is just straight up creepy. Poison Ivy is a broken woman in this one. We see her “building a new life” becoming free of crime and Batman is in shock. She’s turned a new leaf (plant pun!) and decided it’s time to settle down and start a family. She meets a nice professor that teaches at Dick’s school and together they raise his two sons. Batman at first is skeptical, and starts to spy on Ivy, but when he comes away with nothing, he even feels bad for pressuring her so much. Meanwhile, a giant plant like man is terrorizing Gotham, and it would appear that all fingers lead to Ivy, but Batman simply can’t connect the two. At one point in the episode Ivy tells Batman “She’s the happiest, she’s ever been”, and Batman tells her that he believes it. When it turns out, that Ivy is in fact making “people” and that her family isn’t real, Batman and Robin are able to put a stop to her insane plot. She eventually flees Gotham and is seen on an airplane, looking through photographs of her family, with tears in her eyes. Just an emotional episode, showcasing that even though her family and life weren’t real, it was in fact the happiest she’s ever been. Sad stuff. Grade C+

“She’s done nothing more incriminating than return an overdue video – even paid the late fee.” Batman

47 – If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? Season 2, Episode 12. Director: Eric Radomski, Story: David Wise

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The Riddler! One of my all time favourite Batman villains, and guess what? They do him such proper justice in this show! The episodes before the revamp that The Riddler is in, are just quality stuff. His origin story episode however, is my least favourite. The way he looks, speaks and intellect are all so on the money, it’s not even fair. So kudos to the guys for really nailing this character. So Edward Nygma creates a world famous game called “The Riddle of The Minotaur,” and is on top of the world. But when his boss, Daniel Mockridge fires him, so he can keep all the profits of the game for himself, Nygma vows revenge as he leaves the building. Fast forward two years, and Mockridge is getting riddles all across Gotham, and he knows it can only be one man. The Riddler ends up kidnapping Mockridge, and swears to put an end to Mockridge. Batman even feels a little for Nygma, knowing he was the creator of the game, and got screwed over. But they have to stop him from killing Mockridge, who he has hidden in the middle of a life size replica of the game he created. This is where the episode takes a downturn for me, I’m not a fan of the life sized game, it just seems so unrealistic (I know it’s Batman, but you know what I mean). It feels so out of place, and this is when we learn that Batman is a terrific riddle solver, and it damn near pisses Riddler off every time. Mockridge is saved, but he ultimately ends up living in fear for the rest of his life. Side note: I love how they got a guy who’s last name is Wise to write this episode…… Grade B

“My, my, my, can we actually have a brain beneath that pointy cowl of ours?” The Riddler 

46 – Mad As A Hatter. Season 1, Episode 27. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Paul Dini

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Jervis Tetch, a Wayne Enterprises scientist, is madly in love with one of his secretaries Alice. You know where this is going, he eventually snaps, and becomes his alter ego Mad Hatter. I like this character, I enjoy the play on the whole Alice in Wonderland thing. Jervis is a broken man, who just wants to be loved. When he can’t have that, he makes it happen, by mind controlling those around him. He can actually be a pretty worthy advisory to Batman, with his mind controlling devices, seeing how anyone can be targeted. So when Alice gets engaged to her boyfriend, Jervis doesn’t like that one bit, and sets off on a rampage to win her back. I’m a big fan of the end to this episode, with all the characters from Alice in Wonderland being involved, and I just think Mad Hatter is a really interesting and unique Batman character. Just an overall, really well done episode in my mind. Grade B

“You’re mighty in Gotham, Batman, but in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter reigns supreme.” Mad Hatter

45 – Fear of Victory. Season 1, Episode 24. Director: Dick Sebast, Story: Samuel Warren Joseph

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Imagine being afraid of just about everything and anything. Well Scarecrow’s newest toxin does just that. When he’s intoxicating star Gotham athletes and making a fortune off their poor performances, he thinks he has it made. He even gets Robin’s roommate, quarterback of their universities football team, and at the same time Robin becomes infected. He doesn’t know until he’s on patrol with Batman, and finds himself, afraid of heights all of a sudden. This episode is all about facing your fears, and being master of your own mind. In the first season, Scarecrow is involved in 3 incredible episodes, and I really wish they didn’t go away from that character in later seasons. He is always testing Batman’s limits, and in this episode, Robin feels like he is a burden to Batman. Once Batman finds the connection between the athletes and Robin, he knows it’s the professor of fear behind it, and when he goes to confront him in Arkham, well guess who broke out. There’s a great part, when it appears he’s in his cell, just rocking back and forth on his rocking chair, but it’s just an actual Scarecrow. Like just how bad is security at this place? Grade B-

I need the money, Batman. You know the cost of chemicals these days.” Scarecrow 


44 – Night of The Ninja. Season 2, Episode 7. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Steve Perry 

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Kyodai Ken, man this guy was so cool! For being a lesser known rival to Bruce Wayne and later Batman, this guy was pretty badass! He’s only in two episodes of the show, but honestly they are two of my favourites. The reason I have it only at number 48, is well, remember what show we are talking about here. So when Bruce Wayne goes to Japan to learn the ways of a samurai, he meets Ken, who is a formidable foe. He is better than Bruce in the dojo, but he has his heart on a rare sword, and tries to steal it. When he is stopped by Bruce and their master, Kyodai Ken swear revenge. Some years later, robberies are happening all over Gotham, and to Wayne Enterprises subsidiaries, he comes face to face with a worthy opponent. When trying to get away, he notices a back tattoo, the same one that Kyodai Ken has. Fearing that he might not be able to beat him, like he could never do in the past, Batman is a little on edge. One of the reasons I love this episode so much, is there’s also a great Robin story in here too. That Robin sometimes feels like Batman isn’t proud of him, or that he isn’t grateful to have him around. Towards the end of the episode, it is Bruce Wayne that defeats Ken, but needs the aid of Robin, due to the fact that he’s fighting him in front of Summer Gleeson. He can’t defeat him with her watching, because it might start to raise unwanted questions. I think I’m really screwing up by making this episode 48, but the truth is, the next time Kyodai Ken comes around, it’s even better! Grade B+

“I have to be the best there is, no matter what it takes!” – Batman

43 – See No Evil. Season 1, Episode 17. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Martin Pasko

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This episode for me at least, has it all. A great story, animation and a really good character. Lloyd Ventrix is a fresh out of jail father, who can no longer see his daughter. So he makes a suit, that’s made up of a special plastic that can bend light. He’s therefore invisible, and when he’s invisible he can see his daughter. See she thinks it’s her new best friend Mojo, and there’s something about this, that’s both sweet and creepy. He’s also using the suit to commit various crimes around Gotham, and when Batman goes up against him, and realizes what exactly he is going up against, he digs deeper into this matter. When he finds out the plastic is toxic and will eventually kill Ventrix, he tries to console him about losing his daughter. All the animation with him being invisible is incredible for the 90’s and they have some stellar fight sequences in this as well. Towards the end when Batman uses a dripping water tank to see Ventrix, and it’s just really well done. He’s only ever in one episode but man I just love that character, it’s a real mature story for a kids show. It really only gets better with each viewing in my opinion. Grade B

“See you ’round, Batman! Too bad you can’t say the same!” – Lloyd Ventrix 

Three parts down, two to go!

Check ya later.

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